The Benifits of Solar Power

December 11, 2008
By Virginia Grady, Seven Springs, NC

"The Benefits of Solar Power"
Did you know that in one hour the earth receives more energy from the sun than we use in an entire year. If only .01 percent of this massive amount of this energy would be harnessed we would have more than sufficient energy to power everything that requires any type of fuel or electricity. We the human race are facing a dire energy crisis. Even though we have more than sufficient energy to supply everything that requires power or fuel, the greenhouse gases emitted as a byproduct of this are contributing to Global Warming. Our environment is drastically changing, weather patterns are becoming unpredictable, species are going extinct, our coasts are losing ground, diseases are spreading faster as a result of a warmer environment, and crops are yielding less as our population is growing exponentially. This is a heavily debated subject; La Nino is possibly a major part of these problems. But while we are not sure if global warming or La Nino is the larger part of the problem, we do know Global Warming is in fact a major contributor. While we emit more and more greenhouse gases, global warming is getting worse and worse. Something must be done to stop this spiral of doom before it is impossible to reverse the drastic climate changes. We have one earth, and colonization of other planets is talked about. The only fully habitable planet within our grasp is our own irreplaceable planet Earth. This essay will discuss one of the many clean forms of energy that can help stop or even reverse global warming over a period of time, solar power. The resource we will discuss Solar power needs to be instated everywhere that doesn’t already have sufficient clean energy resources and would have long days and large amounts of sunlight.

Before solar power becomes large scale we must compare the difficulty of the production process, the price to manufacture them, the pros and the cons of solar power, and the efficiency, to other clean energy sources. I must have you picture the layout of a solar power system before moving on. The idea is somewhat simple although the actual implementation of it all requires a quite a bit of science. Everything starts with the sun. The sun puts of massive amounts of non-stop. Solar panels then absorb this energy and use a pump to store energy in some form of storage tank. This is all handled by some type of electric controller.
Now we move on to the business of manufacturing the parts of the system. Because solar panels are the main component of all this, we will only construct solar panels. There are two main types of solar panels, amorphous and crystalline. Both of these types of panels use silicon as the main ingredient. But amorphous solar panels use much less silicon than crystalline panels, they are cheaper to manufacture, and less likely to break. But this comes at a cost. Amorphous solar panel’s deteriorate much faster than crystalline panels and produce less power per square foot. Because of this, you must buy a somewhat larger area of amorphous solar panels than crystalline solar panels to acquire the same amount of wattage. Producing solar panels is a quite a delicate but straight forward process. Crystalline solar panels first require the cutting of crystalline silicon into very thin small disks. These disks are usually less than a centimeter thick. These disks are then polished to repair any damage done in the slicing stage of this process. Then dopants and metal conductors are put on evenly across the disk. Dopants are added to change or alter an electrical charge on a semiconductor or a photovoltaic solar cell. Finally a thin layer of glass is added to the top of the solar panel in order to protect the somewhat fragile solar cells. Then the panels must be installed in a position where the panels will not overheat. At this point the solar panels are ready to start producing large amounts of power. Now we move the business of manufacturing amorphous solar panels. Amorphous solar panels are made by vapor depositing thin layers of silicon alloys in very thin layers. Each layer plays a different part in absorbing the solar spectrum. This causes the panels to be more efficient and require fewer resources to make.
Solar power is one of the most costly types of clean energy resources. A solar power system can cost anywhere from 6,000 to 90,000 dollars for a private residence. This is quite a hefty investment for most people. But there is a good side to all this, a system will pay for itself in a number of years depending on the type of system you have. Even though solar power is more expensive than most other clean energy resources, in many areas this would be the only effective clean energy resource.
Now to discuss the pros and cons of solar power, we will discuss the pros first. Creating solar power requires absolutely no pollution whatsoever. This is obviously much better than any type of energy resource that emits greenhouse gases. After a number of years solar power will began to save, or even make money for you, if you do not use all the solar power that your system has collected. Unlike many other clean energy resources it requires almost no maintenance, therefore keeping up a system easier for your average person. Solar Power is renewable because we will never run out of sunlight, fossil fuels are not. Last but not least Solar Power collection makes zero noise unlike wind turbines that can produce a lot of noise. Now to the cons these are otherwise known as the bad stuff. Getting a solar system requires a very large initial investment many people may not have the money needed to purchase such an expensive system. The amount of power gained relies on how many hours of sunlight you have in that area. Far North and South climates will not be able to gather as much Solar Power. The last con may sound silly but matters to many people. Solar Panels use a lot of space and look like a sore thumb.
Most Solar Panels only turn twenty percent of received energy into electricity. This isn’t such a good ratio but Solar Panels emit zero Greenhouse gases and this is still quite a bit of energy. Once again Solar power needs to be instated everywhere that doesn’t already have sufficient clean energy resources and would have long days and large amounts of sunlight. Our earth needs to be saved before it’s too late because otherwise where will you live?

The author's comments:
"Writers Memo"

Purpose: I am writing this essay to tell people about solar energy. I also researched the subject to learn more about it. The thesis or main idea of my subject is solar energy. I am trying to accomplish making more people want to help the energy crisis and buy solar panels.
Audience: Someone who doesn’t understand the energy crisis or solar panels could easily read my piece and easily understand it. It would be great to be able to submit my essay to Teen Ink. Teen Ink is written entirely by teens and distributed to thousands of schools nationwide. It would make more people my age aware of the energy crisis and they could learn a lot about solar energy.

Struggles: I struggled greatly with keeping everything on two pages. For instance, I think my introductory paragraph may have been too long.
Is my introductory paragraph too long?
Does it give too much opinion and information before the next paragraph?
Was my essay too long?

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

Parkland Book